After an excellent training session which we used for some distance training, the DW kayaking squad headed for their first race over part of the DW course. Waterside A starts in Great Bedwyn and finishes 13.5 miles and 21 portages later in Newbury; it is a tough race due to the number of energy sapping portages in quick succession.
The weather was glorious and the Kennet and Avon in excellent racing condition. After what in many paddlers’ experiences was a very early start (5am in order to be in Great Bedwyn for an 8am registration and briefing), the paddlers set off shortly after 9am. Each pair should be commended for their commitment and proud of their tenacity in providing some excellent times. All crews finished within approximately 30 minutes of each other despite 4 of the crews taking a swim! A special mention should go to Fliss and Zoë who finished 6th overall in the Junior women’s class in a time of 2 hours 32 minutes 50 seconds – only 3 minutes off second place despite being one of the boats that took a swim.
The three mixed crews of Barney/Constance, Sophia/Archie and Beth/Ollie pushed each other hard and finished within less than 10 minutes of each other. They showed their competitive spirit by each having the upper hand at different stages of the race. Will and Ben also showed great form by being the second fastest Seaford crew back despite being in a heavier boat. Mark and Kaj showed great progress despite having an early bath! All round a hugely successful day.
A coaching headache is looming as Henry re-joins the fray having recovered from his broken leg. A fantastically positive headache however, as to which boat combinations to paddle next weekend at the first of the Thameside series from Aldermarston to Reading.
This year’s pairings are showing extraordinary ability considering how little paddling they have done in comparison to the more established crews. Without a doubt, this year is looking hugely competitive and, just as importantly, has a great positive energy and team spirit.
Thanks to the excellent support teams, without whom the paddlers would not be able to achieve what they have done. The DW paddlers are supporting Ellie Holt’s crowd funding in order to help her raise £75,000 for life changing treatment – more information can be found here donations can be made on their fundraising page
Watch their amazing efforts here: